Days before the cross country team headed out to Tillamook for their first 5k of the season, I see the team on my way home from work running down Belmont back towards the high school and all I could think was, wow.
It was a warm day late in August and they were pushing each other to not let up miles away from their destination; seeing that while cozy in my air-conditioned car helped me realize the special group of boys and girls that make up this XC team this year.
Before seeing this, however, I had talked to the team leaders and Head Coach Brandon Bertram about how they carried themselves and he had already gave me a sense of what the team is up to. There’s a mindset embedded into this team and at the root of it all it’s about working hard on and off the field.
At the first 5k of the season the girls team placed second and the boys third. “The girls and boys did great at Tillamook this past weekend,” said Bertram. “Being our first 5k of the season I was happy with how well everyone did.”
For the girls, Josephine and Frances Dickenson lead the eagles with second and fourth place finishes, with times of 20 minutes and 47.11 seconds and 20:50.90. Following them at a time of 22:10.87 was captain Josie Petersen in 13th. Eva Jones and Chloe Bullock finished up our scoring in 27 and 28th place. “Besides Josie, this was each of the scoring girls first varsity race,” said Bertram, “which is a promising start taking second behind only 6A St. Mary's.”
The boys made the most of what they were given in a race that was covered with mud. Senior Finn Peterson lead the Eagles with a 10th place finished followed by 12th places finisher Braxton Wilson in his first XC race ever. Freshman Oscar Powell was the third runner up for the Eagles, followed by sophomore Omar Quintana and senior Muir Emmons.
“Both teams ran great races with what was afforded to us with the extreme heat and the difficult condition of the course. Our goal with this meet each year is to simply compete hard late in the race when we are fatigued and challenged. I felt we took on those challenges late in the race and ran strong.”
This week the team competes at Western Oregon where the dynamics of the race will change as they will compete on a flat and fast course. “It will be a good test to see where we are at against our main 5A competition as we are only two months out from the state meet.”